They weren’t singing sea shanties. They didn’t have eye patches or a parrot perched on their shoulders. They were between 17 and 19 years old and they carried guns and knives. They were modern day pirates.
On the 8th April 2009, four Somali pirates boarded the container ship ‘Maersk Alabama’. The vessel was on route to Mombasa, Kenya, with 20 crewmen and 17000 MT of cargo on board. Fully aware of the risk of pirates, the crew had completed anti-piracy training, and had held practice drills just the day before.
When the pirate alarm sounded that day, 14 crewmen were ushered into the secure room by the ships chief engineer, Mike Perry. They lay waiting as the remaining crew fired flares and swung the ship’s rudder, flooding the pirates boat.
The efforts by the crew were fruitless. Four pirates boarded the ship. They captured the captain, Richard Phillips, along with the five other crew members. The pirates soon discovered that they could not control the ship, and went in search of the remaining crew.
Want to find out what happened to the Captain and the crew that were aboard the Maersk Alabama back in 2009? Well you’re in luck!
This amazing story has received the Hollywood treatment and has now been made into a movie. Due on Australia’s screens on 24 October, the aptly titled Captain Phillips stars Tom Hanks and will give us a peek into what the ordeal was like for the captain and his crew.
Check out the trailer or read more about the movie.